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The assassination of political, religious and military leaders, often dictators, is frequently seen as the short cut to solving a particular problem. The author takes issue with this argument. Examining a series of linked assassinations together with their causes and effects, he seeks to demonstrate that in many cases the killings have produced unforeseen and unintended consequences that all too often result in the opposite result to that desired.
His case studies, arranged intriguingly in pairs, cover such diverse characters as Julius Caesar and Thomas à Becket, Gandhi and Jesus Christ, Tsar Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Michael Collins and Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, and Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
This is an absorbing, controversial and informative study.
Hudson's book is a readable, thought-provoking treatment of a difficult and controversial subject. Deftly sidestepping the conspiracy theories and emotion which often mar similar works, he has produced a worthwhile book on the subject.African Armed Forces Journal, March 2011
The subject of assassination, though a fascinating one, seems to have received little critical attention. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of books on unravelling specific assassination "conspiracies". But a book on assassination through history, a book on the political meaning of assassination, is something that until now has been sorely lacking. Hudson takes issue with the commonly held belief that assassination is a short cut to solving a particular problem. He invokes the law of unintended consequences to show that things are rarely that simple. Grouping victims in subsets, he looks at Jesus, Thomas Becket and many others. Fascinating.Stav Sherez